October 18, 2017

Reports Signal Rising Strength in Consumer Spending

The government said retail sales rose 0.5 percent last month, compared with a 0.4 percent increase, after revisions, in November. Sales in November were previously reported to have gained 0.3 percent.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected sales to rise only 0.2 percent. Sales were up 4.7 percent from December 2011 and up 5.2 percent for the whole of 2012, suggesting momentum in consumer spending as the year ended.

So-called core sales, which excludes automobiles, gasoline and building materials and corresponds most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product, increased 0.6 percent after gaining 0.5 percent in November.

The second consecutive month of gains in core sales suggested that consumer spending picked up in the fourth quarter after rising at an annual pace of 1.6 percent in the July-through-September period.

The government also said on Tuesday that producer prices fell in December for the third consecutive month as food prices declined by the most in a year and a half.

The Labor Department said its seasonally adjusted Producer Price Index slipped 0.2 percent last month. Economists polled by Reuters had expected prices at farms, factories and refineries to drop 0.1 percent.

A 0.9 percent drop in food costs drove most of the December decline. Excluding volatile food and energy costs, wholesale prices rose 0.1 percent, which was in line with analysts’ forecasts.

The core reading suggested that businesses were seeing little growth in price pressures. It could reinforce the outlook that modest inflation would give the Federal Reserve space to continue with easy-money policies aimed at propping up the economy.

The decline in overall prices brought 12-month inflation to 1.3 percent.

The Commerce Department also said business inventories rose modestly in November as sales increased solidly, indicating that a buildup in inventories would not add much to economic growth in the fourth quarter.

Inventories increased 0.3 percent, to a record $1.62 trillion, after rising by the same margin in October.

The gain in November was in line with economists’ expectations. Automobile inventories rose 0.5 percent after increasing 0.8 percent in October.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/16/business/economy/retail-sales-improve-producer-prices-fall.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Economix Blog: Are There Really No Good Job Applicants Out There?

CATHERINE RAMPELL

CATHERINE RAMPELL

Dollars to doughnuts.

The latest Small Business Optimism Index data from the National Federation of Independent Business — a major industry group for small businesses that surveys a sample of its members each month — is very disappointing. The report, issued Tuesday, showed business optimism to be near recessionary levels in December. Hiring plans in particular weakened substantially.

There was potentially one bright spot: the share of businesses saying that there were few or no qualified applicants for open positions fell for the third month in a row. In December about 3 in 10 firms said they had trouble finding qualified workers, down from about 4 in 10 in September.

Source: National Federation of Independent Business, via Haver Analytics. Gaps in the line represent missing data from those months. Source: National Federation of Independent Business, via Haver Analytics. Gaps in the line represent missing data from those months.

It’s hard to tell if this is the start of a real, sustainable trend or just statistical noise. In any case, December’s figure is still bafflingly high, given that there were more than 12 million unemployed workers available to hire last month. That’s around three unemployed workers per available job, based on the latest Labor Department job openings data.

Despite the glut of workers, the share of small businesses saying they couldn’t find the talent they wanted was generally rising from December 2009 until September 2012, when it reached its highest point since the recession began five years earlier.

What’s especially odd about these survey responses is that if employers are having trouble finding qualified workers, they should be bidding up wages to attract the few qualified workers who are out there. But that’s not what the data show.

Source: National Federation of Independent Business and Bureau of Labor Statistics, both via Haver Analytics. Wages are adjusted using the consumer price index. Left vertical axis refers to small business survey data (blue line), and right vertical axis refers to hourly earnings data (red line). Source: National Federation of Independent Business and Bureau of Labor Statistics, both via Haver Analytics. Wages are adjusted using the consumer price index. Left vertical axis refers to small business survey data (blue line), and right vertical axis refers to hourly earnings data (red line).

Average hourly earnings in the private sector fell over the period that businesses reported having increased trouble finding qualified workers (December 2009 to September 2012). Perhaps this means businesses are having trouble finding qualified workers precisely because they’re unwilling to pay new hires enough money. Since September, as you can see, wages ticked up slightly as businesses reported having less trouble finding workers, although both data sets are a little noisy.

One possible explanation for why a third of employers say they are having trouble finding qualified workers, despite the surplus of unemployed people, is that so many workers on the job market are long-term unemployed at this point. Employers are often loath to hire workers who have not been gainfully employed in a long time; some job ads even specify that workers must be currently or recently employed to be considered for an open position. That may mean that the very same pool of workers looks increasingly unattractive to companies as time marches on and those workers rack up more weeks of unemployment.

A corollary of all this is that relatively few new workers are joining the pool of unemployed — layoffs are near record lows — so employers may have already considered and rejected all the existing applicants for their latest job openings.

Other theories behind any of these trends?

Article source: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/09/are-there-really-no-good-job-applicants-out-there/?partner=rss&emc=rss

Job Market Strengthened as the Year Wound Down

One survey showed that private hiring increased last month, while another said that layoffs declined and a third showed that applications for unemployment benefits stayed near a four-year low.

The data led some economists to raise their forecasts for December job growth one day before the Labor Department releases its closely watched employment report.

“The job market held firm in December despite the intensifying fiscal cliff negotiations,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “Businesses even became somewhat more aggressive in their hiring at year end.”

The most positive sign came from ADP. Its monthly employment survey showed businesses added 215,000 jobs last month, the most in 10 months and much higher than November’s total of 148,000.

Economists tend to approach the ADP survey with some skepticism because it has diverged sharply at times from the government’s job figures.

But some economists were also hopeful after noting that businesses were less inclined to cut jobs last month.

The consulting firm Challenger, Gray Christmas said that the number of announced job cuts fell 43 percent in December from November, and that overall planned layoffs in 2012 fell to the lowest level since 1997.

The weekly number of people who applied for unemployment figures rose by 10,000, but the four-week average was little changed at 360,000 last week. That’s only slightly above the previous week’s 359,750, which was the lowest since March 2008.

Most economists expect the Labor Department report will show that employers added about 150,000 jobs last month and that the unemployment rate stayed at 7.7 percent. The economy has added about 150,000 jobs a month, on average, over the last two years. That’s too few to rapidly lower the unemployment rate.

Even with modest gains in hiring, the unemployment rate remains high. It fell to 7.7 percent in November from 7.9 percent in October. The number of people receiving jobless benefits fell to 5.4 million in the week ended Dec. 15, the latest data available. That’s down about 70,000 from the previous week.

Some economists saw potential for stronger gains after seeing Thursday’s data. Joseph LaVorgna, chief United States economist at Deutsche Bank, raised his forecast for job growth in December to 190,000 jobs, from 150,000.

Credit Suisse also raised its forecast to 185,000, from 165,000. Still, economists remained cautious about where the job market is headed.

While Congress and the White House reached a deal this week that removed a threat of tax increases for many Americans, they postponed the more difficult decisions on spending cuts and on raising the nation’s $16.4 trillion borrowing limit by late February.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/04/business/economy/more-americans-seek-jobless-benefits.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Retail Sales Rebound; Jobless Claims Fall Sharply

New claims fell for a fourth straight week, dropping 29,000 to a seasonally adjusted 343,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

That left claims at their lowest since early October, and within a hair of their February 2008 level during the early days of the 2007-09 recession.

“The labor market might be improving a bit quicker than expected,” said David Sloan, an economist at 4Cast in New York.ž

The report suggests the labor market has moved past superstorm Sandy, which hit the East Coast in late October and led to a temporary spike in claims.

The four-week moving average for new claims, seen as a better measure of labor market trends, dropped 27,000 to 381,500.

A slow but steady improvement in the labor market has helped support retail sales, which propped up economic growth in the third quarter when business investment sagged.

Economic growth is expected to slow in the fourth quarter, beset by slower inventory building and worries among companies that the U.S. government will adopt harsh austerity measures in January.

U.S. stock prices were little changed after the claims and retail data.

In November, retail sales rose 0.3 percent, rebounding from a 0.3 percent decline in October, the Commerce Department said in a separate report. Economists polled by Reuters had expected an increase of 0.5 percent last month.

A separate measure of retail sales, which strips out automobiles, gasoline and building materials, rose a more healthy 0.5 percent. This core reading more closely follows the government’s gauge of consumer spending, which is a major component of economic growth.

“Consumers have recovered somewhat,” said Joseph Trevisani, a market strategist at Worldwide Markets in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.

Many economists think fears of imminent tax hikes and government spending cuts are hitting consumer confidence and leading businesses to hold back on investment. In early December, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index plunged by the most since March 2011.

Economic growth is expected to slow to a 1.2 percent annual rate in the last three months of the year, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday, down from a 2.7 percent rate in the third quarter.

The Commerce Department said in a third report that business inventories, which are a key component of economic growth, rose 0.4 percent in October, in line with expectations.

The rise in overall retail sales was tempered by a 4 percent decline in receipts at gasoline stations, the biggest drop since December 2008. That likely reflects a fall in gasoline prices during the month, which left consumers with more money to spend on other things.

The Labor Department said separately that U.S. wholesale prices dropped 0.8 percent in November as gasoline prices plunged 10.1 percent, their sharpest drop since March 2009.

The price report, which showed little inflation pressure building in the U.S. economy, gives the U.S. Federal Reserve room to continue with stimulus programs aimed at bringing down the unemployment rate.

So-called core wholesale prices, which strip out volatile energy and food costs, rose a modest 0.1 percent last month.

The Fed announced a new round of monetary stimulus on Wednesday, taking the unprecedented step of indicating interest rates would remain near zero until unemployment falls to at least 6.5 percent.

(Reporting by Jason Lange; Additional reporting by Chris Reese and Nick Olivari in New York; Editing by Neil Stempleman)

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2012/12/13/business/13reuters-usa-economy-retail.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Storm Slowed Hiring in November, but Services Sector Grew

The ADP National Employment Report, which is closely watched as it comes two days ahead of the government’s monthly national employment report, showed on Wednesday that the private sector added 118,000 jobs during the month, below expectations for a gain of 125,000.

The report largely reinforced economists’ forecast for a weak reading in the Labor Department’s payrolls report on Friday. Economists expect the economy added 93,000 jobs in November, down from 171,000 the month before, according to a Reuters survey.

“It’s close to what the market was expecting. If Friday’s employment report from the U.S. Labor Department comes in similar to this, that would be a good outcome,” said Terry Sheehan, an economic analyst at Stone McCarthy Research Associates.

Wednesday’s data, which also included better-than-expected factory orders and productivity, presented a mixed picture of the American economy. That was partly a reflection of crosscurrents from the storm, as well as difficult budget negotiations in Washington aimed at averting the so-called fiscal cliff, a series of automatic government spending cuts and tax increases at the beginning of next year.

A report on the American services sector showed a similar slowing in hiring during the month. But forward-looking indicators pointed to faster growth as a rise in new orders and business activity helped offset a slowdown in employment and prices.

The Institute for Supply Management said its services index rose to 54.7 last month from 54.2 the month before. The reading topped economists’ forecasts for growth to 53.5, according to a Reuters survey. In the report, 50 marks the divide between growth and contraction.

“The much larger service side of the U.S. economy remains relatively healthy,” said Joseph Trevisani, chief market strategist at Worldwide Markets. “It has so far avoided the contraction in manufacturing, but worse is probably coming in the first quarter of next year as the economy continues to slow.”

Also on Wednesday, a report showed new orders received by factories unexpectedly rose 0.8 percent in October as demand for motor vehicles and a range of other goods offset a slump in defense and civilian aircraft orders. The Commerce Department also revised October’s figures upward on nonmilitary capital goods orders excluding aircraft in a hopeful sign that the slowdown in business investment in recent months might soon draw to a close.

Economists at Barclays said the strong reading, driven by orders and shipments of capital goods, equipment used to make other things, means the economy will grow faster than expected in the fourth quarter. They raised their gross domestic product growth outlook for the quarter to 2.2 percent from 2 percent.

The Labor Department reported that nonfarm productivity increased at an annual rate of 2.9 percent in the third quarter, a faster clip than initially expected, as businesses held the line on hiring even as output surged, with unit labor costs falling at their fastest pace in almost a year.

With the effects of the storm out of the way in the months ahead, hiring is expected to return to its previous trend even if more slowly than most would like to see with the employment rate still hovering near 8 percent.

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, who helps compile the ADP report, said underlying jobs growth was closer to 150,000 in November after discounting the impact of the storm as well as seasonal jobs brought forward at the start of the holiday season.

“Abstracting from the storm, the job market turned in a good performance during the month,” he said. “Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on the job market in November, slicing an estimated 86,000 jobs from payrolls.”

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/06/business/economy/storm-slowed-hiring-in-november-but-services-sector-grew.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

U.S. Unemployment Claims Remain Elevated

The Labor Department said on Wednesday that first-time applications for jobless benefits fell by 41,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 410,000. That offset only part of the previous week’s surge.

Two weeks ago, the storm drove applications up by 90,000, to 451,000, an 18-month high. Nearly 44,000 people in New York and 31,000 in New Jersey applied for jobless benefits that week, according to the latest state data available. People in Pennsylvania and Connecticut also sought benefits because of the storm.

The four-week average of jobless claims, a less volatile measure, rose by 9,500, to 396,250.

Before the storm, weekly applications had fluctuated this year from 360,000 to 390,000. At the same time, employers added an average of nearly 157,000 jobs a month. That is barely enough to lower the unemployment rate, which was 7.9 percent in October.

The aftermath of the hurricane is also likely to slow job growth in November, economists said.

Joseph LaVorgna, an economist at Deutsche Bank, said that net job gains could fall to 25,000 this month from 171,000 in October. But employment should rebound after the impact of the hurricane passes. Rebuilding efforts after the storm could even create some jobs.

“If there is any good news in this extremely tragic event, it is that the longer-term impacts on the labor market in particular and the economy in general are negligible,” he said.

There are some signs that the job market is improving. Hiring picked up in October and was stronger than first estimated in August and September, the Labor Department said this month. The economy gained an average of 174,000 jobs a month in the July-to-September quarter. That is up from 67,000 a month in April through June.

The number of people receiving unemployment benefits increased by about 244,000, to 5.2 million, in the week that ended Nov. 3, the latest data available. That is up from fewer than five million the previous week.

Still, consumers are optimistic the unemployment rate will drop over the next 12 months, raising their confidence to the highest level in five years.

The University of Michigan said Wednesday that its consumer sentiment index ticked up to 82.7 this month from 82.6 in October. The index has increased 19 percentage points in the last year.

Optimism about the job market is high. Of those surveyed, 30 percent expect the unemployment rate will fall over the next 12 months. That matches October’s percentage and is the highest since 1984.

Separately, the Conference Board said on Wednesday that its index of leading indicators increased 0.2 percent in October after a 0.5 percent gain in September. The slight gain suggests growth could remain weak. The index is intended to anticipate economic conditions three to six months out.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/22/business/economy/jobless-claims-decline.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Labor and Retail Data Shows Economic Slippage

Separately, the Commerce Department said retail sales rose at the weakest pace in seven months in December, as consumers pulled back toward the end of the holiday shopping season, cutting purchases at department stores and spending less on electronics.

The retail sales data suggests “that spending isn’t really picking up any momentum,” said Sean Incremona, an economist at 4Cast in New York.

Robust factory output and improved hiring have fed the view that the economy has so far resisted a global slowdown as the euro zone grapples with a likely recession.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose to 399,000 in the first week of 2012, the highest in six weeks, from an upwardly revised 375,000 a week earlier. The four-week average of claims was also higher, rising to 381,750 from 374,000.

The Labor Department report also showed 3.63 million continuing claims, up from 3.61 million.

Including the millions of workers receiving aid under emergency federal programs, some 7.3 million Americans were receiving unemployment benefits as of Dec. 24, the most recent date for which comprehensive figures were available.

However, analysts said the government might have had trouble adjusting the claims for seasonal fluctuations after the holiday shopping season.

“We continue to view the labor market as gradually gaining momentum,” said Troy Davig, an economist at Barclays Capital.

The unemployment rate in the United States has fallen sharply in recent months, to 8.5 percent in December, but some economists suspect the drop has in part resulted from discouraged workers dropping out of the labor force.

The Commerce Department said total retail sales increased 0.1 percent in December, after rising by an upwardly revised 0.4 percent in November.

Core retail sales, which exclude autos, gasoline and building materials, declined 0.1 percent in December, after advancing 0.3 percent a month earlier. Core sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of the government’s gross domestic product report.

Within the retail report, the government revised upward its estimate for November sales growth to 0.4 percent, suggesting consumers frontloaded their holiday shopping as retailers discounted heavily and extended store hours in the days after Thanksgiving. The government had initially estimated retail sales rose 0.2 percent in November.

By the end of the season, however, consumers cut back, with spending at electronics and appliance stores down 3.9 percent in December. Shopping at department stores slipped 0.2 percent.

Heavy discounting may have depressed retail sales for the entire season, said a JPMorgan economist, Michael Feroli, who also speculated that the slowdown in December could be because consumers realized they had spent too much in previous months.

A recent drop in the saving rate has led many economists to think American shoppers were getting ahead of themselves.

A 1.5 percent increase in sales of motor vehicles and parts helped lift the retail sector in December. Excluding autos, retail sales fell 0.2 percent, the first decline since May 2010.

Another government report showed business inventories rose 0.3 percent in November, reinforcing the view that fourth-quarter economic growth could get a lift as companies restock their shelves.

A wave of foreclosures has kept downward pressure on home prices, although a report from the real estate data firm RealtyTrac on Thursday showed foreclosure activity slowed last year as lenders tried to clean up problems in the foreclosure process, like the “robo-signing” of loan documents.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=cba16459b87ee3d5ea0d0f5bf0661157

Economix Blog: Under Obama, a Record Decline in Government Jobs

When Barack Obama ran for president four years ago, he appalled some Democrats by saying Ronald Reagan had been a transformational president.

Three years into his presidency, he has exceeded Reagan in one area: reductions in government jobs.

FLOYD NORRIS

FLOYD NORRIS

Notions on high and low finance.

Over all — including a decline of 12,000 public sector jobs in the Labor Department report for December — government employment is down 2.6 percent over the last three years, compared to a decline of 2.2 percent in the early Reagan years. That is a record.

That record, which will seem a dubious distinction to public-sector employees, is largely a result not of federal policy but of shrinking state governments. State employment fell 1.2 percent in 2011 — the largest percentage for any year since counting began in 1955. The number is down 2.2 percent over the last three years. It was up 1.2 percent during Reagan’s first three years, declining in only one of the years.

Local government jobs used to be deemed super safe. Since the federal government started tracking the statistic in 1955, there have been only six years when local government employment declined. They have come in threes: 1981, 1982 and 1983, the first three years of the Reagan administration, and 2009, 2010, 2011, the first three years of the Obama administration.

The declines were a little larger under Reagan. The local-government job count fell 3.8 percent under him but just 3.5 percent over the last three years. But if teacher employment is the measure, the cuts have been greater under Mr. Obama. Education jobs at the local level are down 3 percent under Mr. Obama, compared to 2.1 percent in the early Reagan years.

Federal employment fell 1.3 percent in 2011, but for the three years it is up 1.3 percent, while the total fell by the same amount in Mr. Reagan’s first three years.

The declines in government jobs in both the Reagan and Obama presidencies coincided with major recessions, of course, which reduced tax receipts for all levels of government. If Mr. Obama had had his way, state and local government job losses in 2011 could have been reduced with more federal assistance, but such proposals were blocked by Republicans in Congress.

There is no reason to think Mr. Obama is as happy about the reduction in government workers as some Republicans. But like it or not, the Obama administration has turned out to be anything but a big-government one.

Some other notes from today’s jobs report:

Manufacturing employment, the subject of my column today, rose by 23,000 jobs and was up by 225,000 jobs, or 1.9 percent, for the year. It was the second consecutive annual increase after 12 declines in a row. Construction jobs increased by 0.8 percent in 2011, the first annual increase since 2006.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=7fbbe96b2d7cf7e55eb05b283b20f0d1

Few Workers Have Fully Recovered, Study Says

But only a select few workers have fully regained their footing during the slow recovery.

Katie O’Brien Mowery is one of the lucky ones. After losing her job in the marketing department of a luxury resort in Santa Barbara, Calif., in early 2010, she eventually found a position with better benefits and the promise of a brighter future.

“I wished that it happened sooner than it did,” said Ms. Mowery, who is in her mid-30s, referring to her nearly yearlong job search. “But looking back, my new position wouldn’t have been available when I was laid off, and now I’m very happy.”

Even though the Labor Department is expected to report on Friday that employers added more than 100,000 jobs in November, a new study shows just how rare people like Ms. Mowery are. According to the study, to be released Friday by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers, just 7 percent of those who lost jobs after the financial crisis have returned to or exceeded their previous financial position and maintained their lifestyles.

The vast majority say they have diminished lifestyles, and about 15 percent say the reduction in their incomes has been drastic and will probably be permanent.

Bill Loftis is one of the unfortunate ones. He is without a college degree or specialized skills and also worked in an industry, manufacturing, that has added back only about 13 percent of the jobs that it lost during the recession.

After 22 years on the job, Mr. Loftis, 44, was laid off from a company that produces air filters and valves in Sterling Heights, Mich., three years ago. Managers “looked me dead in the eye,” he recalled, “and said, ‘We’re laying you off, but don’t worry, we’re calling you back.’ ”

He has heard nothing since. Despite applying for more than 100 jobs, he has been unable to find work. He has drained most of his 401(k) retirement fund, amassed credit card debt, and is about to sell his car, a 2006 Dodge Charger. “It’s looking hopeless,” he said.

According to the Rutgers study, those with less education were the most ravaged by job loss during the recession. Even among those who found work, many made much less than before the downturn.

“The news is strikingly bad,” said Cliff Zukin, a professor of public policy and political science at Rutgers who compiled the study, which was based on surveys of a random sample of Americans who were unemployed at some point from August 2008 to August 2009. The numbers represent “a tremendous impression of dislocation and pain and wasted talent,” he said.

More than two years after the recovery officially began, American employers have reinstated less than a quarter of the jobs lost during the downturn, according to Labor Department figures. Of the 13.1 million people still searching for work, more than 42 percent have been unemployed for six months or longer. About 8.9 million more are working part time because they cannot find full-time work.

While health care and some energy-related jobs have boomed throughout in recent years, the other winners have mostly been in skilled professions like computer systems design, management consulting and accounting, where employers have added back as many or more jobs than were cut during the downturn.

Companies like Ernst Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers, which offer accounting and other business advisory services, as well as management consulting firms like Bain Company, have returned to peak hiring levels. Many Silicon Valley firms are aggressively recruiting. Google, for example, announced that it has hired more people in 2011 than in any previous year.

Other employers are adding back jobs that were cut, though not yet enough to reach prerecession peaks. What is more, these jobs are in areas like retail, hospitality and home health care, categories that pay low wages and are unlikely to give workers much economic security.

The sectors that have been slowest to recover are those that endured the most acute job losses, like construction and state and local government. Construction workers are among the biggest sufferers, stung by a housing collapse that led to the loss of two million jobs. Since the recovery began, the industry has added just 47,000 jobs.

Even manufacturing, which has shown a relatively healthy pace of job creation during the recovery, has added just over a tenth of the 2.3 million jobs that disappeared in the downturn.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=c80c0fe6cf4e3d0879180ae3439092ee

Stocks & Bonds: Anxious Over Jobs and Europe, Wall St. Falls for Week

Stocks dipped on Wall Street after sinking in Europe on Friday as the Group of 20 nations ended a summit meeting with seemingly little headway in resolving the debt crisis in the euro zone.

The declines pushed equities markets to cumulative losses for the week, with indexes in the United States shedding about 2 percent or more. The latest jolt came from the meeting in France of G-20 leaders, who wrapped up their talks without commitments of money to prop up Europe’s bailout fund. And in Greece, Prime Minister George A. Papandreou survived a confidence vote early Saturday local time, after calling off a referendum on Greece’s new rescue deal with its international creditors.

While the debt crisis in Europe has unsettled global financial markets for more than a year, analysts were also watching on Friday for any insight the monthly jobs report in the United States could provide on the pace of the nation’s recovery.

But that report from the Labor Department did little to improve sentiment, showing that employers in the United States added 80,000 jobs in October, slightly below economists’ forecasts, compared with 158,000 jobs in September.

The Euro Stoxx 50 index, a barometer of euro zone blue chips, closed down 2.4 percent. The German DAX was down 2.7 percent and the CAC 40 in Paris was down 2.25 percent. The FTSE 100 index in London ended the day 0.3 percent lower.

The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index was down about 0.6 percent, or 7.92 points, at 1,253.23. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.5 percent to 11,983.24 and the Nasdaq composite index was down 0.4 percent to 2,686.15.

Financial stocks fell 1.3 percent in the United States, among the worst performing sectors.

Interest rates were lower. The Treasury’s benchmark 10-year note rose 10/32, to 100 25/32, and the yield fell to 2.04 percent from 2.07 percent late Thursday.

As the euro zone crisis has developed, the markets have sometimes swung erratically, building gains one day and wiping them out the next. The three main Wall Street indexes finished last week up more than 3 percent.

But that gain started to be tested on Monday, then fell further when Greece said it would put the terms of its planned bailout to a public vote. Stocks managed to squeeze out some gains on Wednesday and Thursday, but fell flat on Friday.

In addition, a bankruptcy filing this week by MF Global in the United States raised concerns about the exposure of financial institutions in the United States to the debt problems in Europe. And borrowing costs in Europe for the most troubled economies have been rising again to worrying levels.

Guy LeBas, the chief fixed-income strategist for Janney Montgomery Scott, said investors were “watching their backs” for other troubled financial institutions.

One move that emerged from the G-20 meeting, however, was Italy’s decision to have the International Monetary Fund monitor its belt-tightening efforts.

Italian bonds, among the most pressured, have hit yield levels that signify the most expensive 10-year money the country has borrowed since switching to the euro. The rising borrowing costs make it even more difficult to reduce the overall debt load.

On Friday, the yield on 10-year bonds in Italy climbed again to 6.35 percent, up from 6.18 percent.

“Looking ahead, while Greece is front and center now, the core problem for the euro zone is how to mitigate contagion to Italy,” said currency strategists from Brown Brothers Harriman in a research note.

The euro was at $1.3770 on Friday, down from $1.3812 on Thursday.

In addition to Europe and the economic data in the United States, investors have also been scrutinizing corporate reports, which in recent weeks have somewhat steadied the American market.

On Friday, all of the major sectors in the broader market were lower, but some companies seemed resistant to the declines.

Starbucks, for example, posted fiscal fourth quarter earnings that beat estimates, and was the most widely traded stock of the consumer companies, propping them up as a group, which fell less than 1 percent. Its shares rose 6.7 percent, to $44.19.

Genworth Financial was one of the few to rise in the financial sector. Its shares rose $7.19, more than 16 percent, after it reported strong third-quarter earnings.

Liz Alderman contributed reporting.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/05/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss